Payfone Announces Major Milestones: Zero-Knowledge Privacy ‘Safe Haven’ and Expanded U.S. Coverage

“Over the past few years, Payfone’s commitment to fraud prevention has led us to focus on bringing these benefits to all individuals in the U.S., including the underbanked. Digital KYC and AML services need to be available to all, including those with pre-paid phones, those who are on family plans, and even those with small business and corporate phones,” said Rodger Desai, CEO and Co-Founder of Payfone.

“Over the past few years, Payfone’s commitment to fraud prevention has led us to focus on bringing these benefits to all individuals in the U.S., including the underbanked. Digital KYC and AML services need to be available to all, including those with pre-paid phones, those who are on family plans, and even those with small business and corporate phones,” said Rodger Desai, CEO and Co-Founder of Payfone. “As we continue the journey in 2019, we plan to expand our reach by adding coverage for lifeline phones, hybrid WiFi-Cellular plans, as well as eSIM.”

In addition to expanding coverage, the sharing of Payfone’s Zero-Knowledge architecture raises the bar for consumer data privacy for the entire industry. Zero-Knowledge architecture enables a Relying Party to verify a claim, such as age, through Payfone without personal information being passed back, stored, or aggregated.

“We have been using Zero-Knowledge for our customers (Relying Parties) since 2015,” explained Desai. “Now we are extending our Zero-Knowledge architecture to Service Providers and Authoritative Identity Verification partners to accelerate the modernization of the industry’s ecosystem. Thwarting fraud does not need to come at the expense of data privacy.”

“The telecom industry and American public are currently plagued by robocalls, SS7 attacks, SIM swap scams and porting fraud,” said Michelle Wheeler, Payfone SVP of Industry Relations and CTIA board member. “Solutions like this, which allow consumers to participate in the digital economy without fear of getting scammed or worrying about their data privacy being compromised, are welcomed news for the industry.”

For more information, see the interview between Payfone CEO Rodger Desai and David Birch of Consult Hyperion about the impact of Zero-Knowledge on consumer data privacy. We also invite you to join us on March 14 at 1pm ET for a webinar on how to put privacy first with Zero-Knowledge architecture.

*Based on independent third-party data studies with Fortune 500 companies in the fields of Financial Services, Healthcare, Insurance and Retail.

About Payfone

Payfone’s mission is to bring Trust to the digital world and enable enterprises and their customers to enjoy experiences that are fast, frictionless and fraud-free. Payfone’s award-winning Trust Platform™ and Trust Score™ give enterprises the power to give their customers safer and better digital experiences by issuing real-time Trust Scores. Our zero-knowledge Trust Platform™ orchestrates the verification of identity claims with an ecosystem of authoritative partners within a privacy-first framework. Payfone provides digital authentication services for 6 of the top 10 financial institutions, and leading healthcare, insurance, technology and retail companies. Learn more at and

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Yuka Yoneda

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The best cheap smart home devices and gadget deals in March 2019

Upgrade your living space into a smart home without breaking the bank with our hand-picked devices that include speakers, security cameras, light bulbs and more. These smart home gadgets can simplify your technology and help make your day-to-day life even easier.

Upgrade your living space into a smart home without breaking the bank with our hand-picked devices that include speakers, security cameras, light bulbs and more. These smart home gadgets can simplify your technology and help make your day-to-day life even easier.

Whether you want to personalize and control your lighting, stream music and videos or secure your home, we’ve found a variety of top-rated smart home gadgets to help you get started building your smart home. Most of your products work with Alexa or the Google Assistant so that you can control the devices with the command of your voice. We’ve also included the Aukey Smart Plug-in our list which gives any device you plug into smart capabilities.

Read on for our list of the best smart home gadgets that include the best prices and deals that are currently available. We have a variety of devices that will fit all smart home needs and budgets.

The best-selling Echo Dot is a voice-controlled smart speaker that works with Alexa to make calls, answer questions, set alarms, check the weather and so much more. The compact smart speaker can also control your compatible smart home devices with the command of your voice. Just ask Alexa to find TV shows, turn on lights, adjust the temperature and more. You can use your voice to play a song or artist through Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, and others. Alexa has over 50,000 skills so you can discover new skills that will help you with everyday tasks.

The Amazon Echo smart speaker can play music, answer questions, set alarms and more all with the command of your voice. You can also control your other smart home devices with the Alexa-enabled speaker just ask Alexa to turn off the lights, adjust your thermostat, lock your door and more. The Echo can make calls and send and receive messages through the hands-free speaker. The smart speaker features a better audio experience than the Echo Dot offering a powerful audio with Dolby technology built in to the speaker.

Control your lighting from anywhere with the TP-Link Alexa-enabled light bulb. You can turn your lights on and off and adjust brightness with your tablet or smartphone using the Kasa app. You can connect the smart bulb with Alexa or Google Assistant devices and use your voice to control your lights. The easy-to-install light bulb can transform into any color to set the mood and personalize your lighting by adjusting brightness as well as light appearance from soft white to daylight. The TP-Link bulbs will also help you out with your energy costs by reducing energy use up to 80% without brightness or quality loss.

Turn your electronics and appliances into voice and app-controlled devices with the Kasa Smart WiFi plug by TP-Link. The smart plug works with Alexa and the Google Assistant so you can turn your devices into a hands-free experience. You can turn on lamps, appliances and more from anywhere on your smartphone using the Kasa app. You can also schedule the smart plug to automatically turn on and off when you’re away and reduce your energy by managing devices that use the most power.

Help secure your home with the Ring Video Doorbell Pro that allows you to answer your door from anywhere. The Ring Pro works with Alexa and will send alerts to Echo devices which allows you to hear and speak to visitors entirely hands-free. The Ring Video Doorbell Pro also sends alerts to your smartphone when motion is detected or when someone presses the doorbell so you can monitor your home from anywhere. The Pro features advanced motion detection with a camera view that generates motion alerts within user-set motion zones. The Ring doorbell connects to your existing doorbell wiring so you don’t have to worry about re-charging the battery and features four different faceplate options.

Control your thermostat from anywhere with the 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat. The smart thermostat uses technology to learn your habits and adjust automatically to help save you energy. On average the Nest thermostat saves 10-12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills so the Nest will pay for itself in no time. You’re able to control your thermostat from anywhere with Nest app using your phone, tablet or laptop. The smart thermostat also works with Alexa so you can adjust and control the temperature with the command of your voice. The Nest thermostat features a thinner and sleeker design than previous models and comes in four different colors.

Clean your floors with the command of your voice and completely hands-free with the Wi-Fi connected iRobot Roomba Robot Vacuum. You can use the iRobot home app to clean and schedule your vacuum from anywhere and receive notifications when the job is complete. The Roomba 960 can continuously clean for up to 75 minutes and will automatically recharge. The robot vacuum features a three-stage cleaning system and a high-efficiency filter that captures 99% of allergens, pollen, and dust. The Roomba is also compatible with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant so you can control the vacuum with your voice.

Keep your home secure with the Arlo Pro two camera security system. The top rated security system includes two cameras, rechargeable batteries, power adapter and cable, wall mount, and a base station. The Arlo Pro cameras are weatherproof so they can be used indoors or outdoors and can operate in up to 122-degree temperature. The 100% wireless Arlo Pro records video in 1080p HD resolution and offers advanced motion detection to catch every angle so no moment goes unnoticed. The security system also has a smart siren that can be controlled remotely, or when motion or sound is detected. The security camera works with Alexa, and has a compatible app which allows you to monitor your home from anywhere.

The top-selling Anova Sous Vide lets you master the hottest cooking trend, sous vide. Just fill a pot with water, set the desired temperature and time, and cook everything (meat, souffle, carrots) to perfection. The Anova Sous Vide allows you to prepare restaurant quality meals by cooking your food at the precise temperature and not ever having to worrying about over-cooking. You can set the time and temperature manually on the device or through the Anova app. The app allows you to cook remotely, so you don’t have to wait around in the kitchen waiting for your food to cook. The app also gives you access to over 1,000+ creative recipes and guides you through each recommended meal.

Build your smart lighting hub for your home with the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit. The Philips starter kit includes three 60W white and color ambiance A19 bulbs, one Hue bridge, ethernet cable, and power adapter. The Hue hub is compatible with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant so you can control your lighting with your voice. The Hue color bulbs allow you to choose from sixteen million colors in the Hue app to set the perfect mood and create a unique and personalized lighting experience. The Hue app also lets you sync your lighting with movies and music and allows you to control everything remotely. The Hue hub will enable you to add on to your smart lighting system with the bridge accommodating up to fifty Hue lights.

The Logitech Harmony Elite Remote is the ultimate universal remote that not only controls your TV but can also control other smart home devices. The Harmony remote works with Alexa so you can use your voice to control your TV and other connected devices. The remote features one-touch automation so you can touch one button to trigger everyday activities like turning on the lights and TV. The Harmony Elite also works with other smart home devices, offering single-touch control with smart lights, locks, thermostats and more. The universal remote lets you combine up to fifteen remotes and several apps into one easy-to-use remote so you can control all of your electronics and gadgets with one device.

See more of the best Amazon Echo prices, deals and salesSee more of the best Ring Doorbell deals currently going on

The best cheap Amazon Kindle sale prices and deals in March 2019

A cheap Kindle sale is never that far away in these parts as Amazon is keen to stay atop of the ereader pile. Kindle prices on most of the devices are already great value given the high quality you get in your hands.

A cheap Kindle sale is never that far away in these parts as Amazon is keen to stay atop of the ereader pile. Kindle prices on most of the devices are already great value given the high quality you get in your hands.

We’re rounding up all the cheapest Kindle deals as various retailers throw down to try to offer your the best bargains. On this page we’ll dig out the discounts on every type of Kindle ereader still readily available. If you’re interested than just reading books, there are the Amazon Fire tablets to consider and they’re immeasurably cheaper alternative to those pricey iPads.

While Kindles and Fire tablets are Amazon products, you’ll find them competitively priced by multiple retailers. Don’t worry about having to compare and contrast prices though, we’ll do the cross-checking to ensure you can see the latest Kindle prices from a wide range of stores to ensure you get the best price from trustworthy retailers.

We’ve got our eye on every model out there and have price comparison charts for them all. Everything from the basic Kindle, the excellent Paperwhite all-rounder (including the super new 2018 version), all the way up to the fancier Kindle Oasis luxury ereader. And the Fire tablet range is covered to from the super cheap 7-inch model and up to the larger 10-version with the Kids Edition Fire tablets priced and compared too.

Naturally we’ll explain the differences between the devices too so you can make the most informed decision about which one suits you best. Want more functionality from your tablet? Then take a look at our best iPad deals.

What makes a good Kindle price?

If this is your first Kindle, you’ll be wanting to know – how do you tell a good Kindle sale price when you see one? Luckily, there are so many good ones out there it’s pretty easy!

Follow @TRDeals on Twitter for the latest offers

Kindle ereaders don’t have LCD screens or powerful internal components which means they’re usually a lot cheaper than tablets and phones. The screens are fantastic for glare-free reading and an immediate improvement over using the Kindle app on your phone or tablet.

If you can find the Kindle Paperwhite for under US$129/£120/AU$199 you’re getting a good price, while the Kindle 2016 model (which has all but disappeared from Australian stores) has a fairly static price of US$80/£59, but every now and then it dips lower. The top of the line Kindle Oasis model prices start at $269/£229/AU$389 and rarely drops lower.

What do ‘Special Offers’ mean on the Kindle listings?

When looking at a Kindle ereader listing, whether it’s on Amazon’s website, or on a different retailer’s site, you’ll often see ‘includes special offers’ in the title or item description. Choose without special offers and the price will jump up £10/US$20.

Essentially, these Special Offers act as Amazon-based screensaver-style advertisements on your Kindle device. So when you pop your Kindle on from sleep mode you’ll see an ad for a book on Amazon’s Kindle store, or maybe a third party ad.

Annoying right? Actually, I opted for with Special Offers (I do love a cheap deal), and it’s not bothered me one bit. You can swipe the ad away easily (no trying to find the tiny X icon here) and get on with your reading straight away. When in sleep mode, the ads cycle on the screen, but they’re not illuminated and they don’t seem to consume any power. They don’t slow anything down when powering on the device after shutdown either.

Seeing as they don’t interfere with the experience at all, I’m glad I didn’t spend the extra £10 to block them. Hey, some of them (sales ads etc) have been worth clicking through to. If you really don’t like them though, you can always pay the difference at a later date to get them removed. So we’d opt for the cheaper ‘includes special offers’ option first.

Here are the best cheap Kindle prices currently available…

Kindle Paperwhite 2018 prices

Amazon has an updated version of the excellent Kindle Paperwhite and it’s just been released. And this is no mere by-the-numbers update with a deep dive on internal spec sheet required to spot the differences (let’s leave that to the MacBooks right?). The 2018 version of the Paperwhite is so good you might be tempted to ditch the previous version, which we still love very much.

The backlit screen is now flush with the bezel, meaning no more places for dust or hair to get stuck. And part of the reasoning behind this upgrade is to ensure the Kindle Paperwhite is now a waterproof ereader, just like the far more expensive (but absolutely beautiful) Kindle Oasis. The cheapest model now has double the storage capacity at 8GB which is handy if you you’re reading image-heavy books like graphic novels/comics. And it’s 20 grams lighter. That extra space is also handy for audiobooks, a new addition to the Paperwhite that you can take advantage of via bluetooth speakers/headphones.

We expect prices to drop on the older model to clear stock out, so you could get a decent discount there (see further down this page for the older Paperwhite prices). As for the new Kindle Paperwhite 2018, prices start at $129.99/£119.99/AU$199. The 2018 Kindle Paperwhite is well on its way to surpassing the previous model, which was already the best value ereader on the planet.

Kindle Paperwhite deals

The best standard Kindle ever is a value-for-money winner

The 6th generation Kindle Paperwhite is the best value Kindle yet, it’s the most cost effective ereader on the market and it easily beats the Kobo Aura on performance and design. Unlike the cheaper model, this one comes with screen lighting. Amazon has managed to create a fast electronic ink tablet with inventive reading apps. You can lookup words in the dictionary without leaving your page, or even flick through any relevant Wikipedia entries for most words or terms. The latest version’s screen is now just as good as the more expensive Voyage model. As far as value for money goes, this is the one to beat.

Amazon Kindle (2016) deals

The new 2016 Kindle (also known as the ‘All-New Kindle’ and ‘Kindle Touch 2016’ in Australia) is the updated version of the entry level Kindle last released in 2014. If you want the cheapest option, this is the one you should go for as the 2014 version has been discontinued and any deals you see are probably for preowned or refurbished units. With prices starting around £60/US$80/AU$109 you’re getting a bargain. The 2016 model is also available in white (the 2014 was black only), it’s lighter, thinner, has double the RAM speed and double the storage capacity at 4GB. The lack of a lit screen is the only thing holding it back really.

Kindle Oasis deals

The luxury waterproof ereader you’ve been waiting for?

The reinvigorated all-new Kindle Oasis costs US$249/£229/AU$389 for the cheapest Wi-Fi version. This is an upgrade over the older Oasis (which is no longer available) and a huge improvement. It’s 15% cheaper, bigger and also the first waterproof kindle, arguably justifying the top end price-tag. The Kindle Oasis is also the first kindle to support Aubidle audio books, although you’ll need a pair of bluetooth wireless headphones to use this feature as there’s no built-in speaker or 3.5mm headphone port. This new Kindle ereader’s 7-inch screen makes it the largest in the current Kindle range and tempting for readers wanting to view a larger page, meaning you won’t have to turn pages as often. The page turn buttons are given a wider bezel on the side than the Kindle Voyage, making it easier to hold one-handed – the screen will flip over to accommodate left-handed readers too. The considerably cheaper Voyage and Paperwhite models are excellent alternatives and feature the same screen resolution. That larger screen and waterproofing for peace of mind are pretty tempting though.

Kindle Voyage deals

A bit overpriced and outdated in today’s world

The Voyage used to be the most expensive Kindle around before the Oasis arrived, and it would seem Amazon is slowly phasing this model out in favour of it. The Voyage is still one of the best ebook readers available. It has a compact design and a sharp screen. Although, the last two versions of the far cheaper Paperwhite now comes with the same 300ppi backlit screen. The Kindle Voyage has a flush display making the device easy to keep clean, adaptive screen lighting for easier lighting adjustments and additional page turning buttons. The buttons are a nice feature, but given the new 2018 version of the Kindle Paperwhite also has a flush screen and is waterproof, the Voyage is too expensive nowadays for us to whole heartedly recommend.

Amazon tablet deals

Want something a bit more advanced than a Kindle ereader? If your needs are a bit more media-intensive as you want a handheld device for gaming, viewing movies (especially on Amazon Prime) and browsing the web, an Amazon tablet could be for you. Naturally, there’s a Kindle app, but the glass screen can be a hindrance for extended reading sessions.

Australian readers should note that these Fire tablets aren’t available Down Under.

Amazon Fire 7 deals

Amazon’s most popular Fire tablet

Sitting at the budget end of Amazon’s Kindle tablet range, the Fire 7 is generally the cheapest of the lot as it doesn’t have a HD screen. Amazon has just refreshed the Fire 7 range though and it now comes with Alexa, the virtual assistant from the Amazon Echo devices. You can also have different profiles – some for the kids – through Amazon FreeTime.

Amazon Fire HD 8 deals

The All-New Amazon Fire HD 8 is an improved beast

For this low price, the Amazon Fire HD 8 is one of the best tablets around, especially if you’re happy to jump into Amazon’s ecosystem. Mobile gamers will appreciate the improved tech inside the more recent versions as it comes with more storage, 50% more RAM and a 1.3GHz processor. Better yet, the 2018 edition seen below now comes with integrated hands-free Alexa – the excellent virtual assistant from the Amazon Echo range. You’re not paying any more for the privilege either, so we’d only recommend the latest version.

Amazon Fire HD 10 deals

The All-New Amazon Fire HD 10 is a much-needed upgraded

The new and improved Fire HD 10-inch tablet finally joins Amazon’s other Fire tablets with the ‘All-New’ treatment. This is good news for buyers as this replacement is cheaper than the scant few deals available for the old Fire HD 10.

The cheapest model now comes with 32GB of storage instead of 16GB, has a clear full HD 1080p screen and has twice as much RAM to run even faster than before. All this and the RRP comes in at just £149/$149. The headline feature though is the introduction of the voice-controlled Alexa app (one and the same as the Echo devices) to the tablet.

We’re a bit sad to see the old aluminium body go, as it looks a little less premium with the plastic finishes (black, red and blue available at launch so far). But seeing as we’d be putting a protective cover on it anyways, it doesn’t really make any difference when we think about it.

Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition

Got tech-hungry children, but don’t want them to get their grubby mitts on your tablet or phone all the time? The Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet could be the answer. In addition to enhanced durability (look at the size of that housing), it also comes with a two-year guarantee, which covers the tablet -even if the kids break it- no questions asked. There are plenty of software safeguards too, such as making sure they can only watch appropriate content online, adjustable screen-time limits and access to loads of age-appropriate games.

Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition

Bigger and better than the Fire 7 Kids. You’re getting a larger screen with HD visuals. The sound is better too as the mono speaker has been banished for Dolby Atmos and dual stereo speakers. The battery has been boosted up to around 12 hours, compared to the eight offered by the smaller model and you get 32GB of storage instead of 16GB. You’re still getting that same tough build quality and two year guarantee too. Come on, don’t make your child grow up with SD visuals. Doesn’t everyone deserve HD, even if they are going to smear jam all over it and throw it around a bit?

We check our Kindle deals every day to make sure they’re always up to date and available!

The cheapest iPad Pro prices, deals and sales in March 2019

So you’re looking for the a cheap iPad Pro price? Well, cheaper at least. Any time a retailer is promoting a fresh iPad Pro sale we’ll be there to check in and let you know if it’s a top deal.

So you’re looking for the a cheap iPad Pro price? Well, cheaper at least. Any time a retailer is promoting a fresh iPad Pro sale we’ll be there to check in and let you know if it’s a top deal.

The demand for iPad Pro deals is high all year round because they’re the most most powerful and accomplished tablets that Apple make. There’s wiggle room for price drops over time and you’ll see plenty of iPad Pro sales highlights on this page, as online retailers are eager to compete for your cash.

The iPad Pro fits in between the regular iPads and MacBooks, with a range of screen sizes available. The 2018 lineup has 11 and 12.9-inch screens, while older generations of the iPad Pro also include 9.7 and 10.5-inch versions. They all have the power of a computer, yet the portability of a mobile device.

There are even cheaper iPads available if you check out our main iPad prices and deals page. It lists the best deals on every model of iPad. And there are Apple laptops on sale if you look at our in-depth best MacBook prices page.

The best iPad Pro 11-inch (2018) deals

The 2018 iPad Pro marks the biggest change to the display since the original model. The edge to edge LCD screen has been achieved rounding its corners and using a liquid retina display similar to that found in the iphone XR. Apple has managed to create an 11-inch display, while keeping the chassis-size of the previous 10.5-inch iPad Pro thanks to a dramatic reduction of the surrounding bezel. The 120Hz display now comes with Face ID for unlocking too. The iPad Pro now comes with a USB-C connection but no longer has a headphone port.

The new A12X bionic chipset makes the 2018 iPad Pros the most powerful yet and Apple’s really aiming for the professional creatives here with a big emphasis on how well the new Photoshop for iPad Pro works. Live demos have shown how it can effortless handle hundreds of high-res Photoshop layers with no lag. Apple also claim the iPad Pro is faster than 92% of other portable PCs. So it won’t surprise you to hear that the new 11-inch iPad Pro has a high price to match the high spec with the entry level 64GB model’s prices starting at $799 / £769 / AU$1129.

The best iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2018) deals

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro for 2018 enjoys the same new full-screen treatment as the new 11-inch version and looks spectacular too. The obliteration of the bezels of old, while keeping the screen-size at 12.9 inches actually means the new iPad Pro is smaller in the hand and lighter. Internally, it comes rocking the same upgraded tech as the 11-inch model.

A bigger screen makes it even better for creatives and the new USB-C connection makes it ideal to connect modern external displays. The new iPad Pros can even support 5K displays. It’ll come as no surprise that the 2018 12.9-inch iPad Pro prices are far from cheap, starting at $999 / £969 / AU$1529.

The best iPad Pro 2017 sale prices

2017 saw the debut of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, as the previous smaller model was 9.7-inches. There is a 2017 12.9-inch model too. How do you tell the difference between the new 2018, 2017 and even older iPad Pro models if they share a screen size though? Well, the 2018 models mentioned earlier have a tiny bezel and the screen edges are rounded. As for the older-gen iPad Pros, your safest bet is to double check the internal spec and look out for one key difference, the 2017 iPad Pros use an A10X processor chip, and the older ones sport the A9X.

So, that’s a faster processor to give it the edge over the older iPad Pro, you’re also getting a modest upgrade to the rear camera, with the biggest megapixel boost being given to the front camera, which now provides a much clearer FaceTime experience.

Both 2017 models are available in 64GB, 256GB and 512GB sizes. You’ll also need to consider if you want a standard iPad Pro to only use Wi-Fi for online activities, or to opt for a cellular route and tie it too a data-only SIM only deal. Be warned though, cellular models are even more expensive.

The screen itself benefits from smaller than before bezels and a small boost in resolution. There’s no two ways about it though, the changes aren’t exactly earth shattering and if they’re not going to make much difference for you. If you see a super cheap deal on the older models on this page, they’re seriously worth considering.

The cheapest iPad Pro 12.9 prices

At launch, the original iPad Pro was one of the most impressive tablets on the planet. At 12.9-inches from corner to corner it was the biggest iPad ever with the most powerful internal components ever seen in a dedicated touchscreen tablet. The original iPad Pro is available in multiple configurations. The standard WiFi version is available in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB models, while the 4G version comes in 128GB and 256GB versions. Prices originally started from $799 in the US, £729 in the UK and $1,149 in Australia but of course, as retailers compete for your money, you should never pay these prices as newer models have made these ones even cheaper! Here are the best original iPad Pro deals currently available.

The cheapest iPad Pro 9.7 deals

This model was originally released in 2016 and as well as having a smaller screen, the iPad Pro 9.7 is also 8mm thinner than the iPad Pro 12.9, weighs 276g less and has exactly the same Apple A9X chip inside. The camera is actually better in the 9.7-inch model, and can do 4K video recording at 30fps. The iPad Pro 9.7 is available in WiFi-only or 4G configurations of 32GB, 128GB and 256GB and prices originally started from $599 in the US, £499 in the UK and $849 in Australia. As always, you should be able to find a better deal than that via our price comparison tech for the latest iPad Pro sales!

The best Amazon Fire TV deals, prices and sales in March 2019

Ready to make your TV smarter than it has ever been by adding streaming capabilities? An Amazon Fire TV device is one of the best solutions.

There’s the hands-free Cube, a powerful streamer box, and cheaper streaming sticks.

Ready to make your TV smarter than it has ever been by adding streaming capabilities? An Amazon Fire TV device is one of the best solutions.

There’s the hands-free Cube, a powerful streamer box, and cheaper streaming sticks. All offer access to thousands of apps and games, and almost every streaming service you could want. Amazon has just released its own DVR called the Fire TV Recast too.

We’ve tracked down the top Amazon Fire TV prices for all of the devices to avoid you getting burned by a bum deal. You may be surprised by how little these exceptionally versatile little gadgets cost.

But why choose an Amazon Fire TV over something like a Roku? Many like the simple interface of Roku, but Amazon lets you play with far more apps and games because it’s based on Android. The Fire TV in particular can feel a little like a casual game console, if you want it to. Like Roku’s top-tier player, both the Amazon Fire TV Cube and new Fire TV Stick offer full 4K resolution.

If Roku sounds like a better fit for you, then check out our Roku deals.

For anyone tied into the Amazon ecosphere of products, either the Amazon Fire TV Cube, Fire TV, or Fire TV Stick would make the perfect center for your smart homes. With Alexa built-in, they can talk to devices like the Samsung SmartThings Hub and Nest Thermostats, allowing you to command your smart home using your Fire TV remote.

But you knew all of that already. That’s why you’re here looking for the best deal on an Amazon Fire TV device. Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are the best Amazon Fire TV deals we’ve found today:

Currently only available in the US.Amazon has just released its own DVR (Digital Video Recorder) to record free over-the-air content and watch it via an Amazon Fire TV device or Echo Show (so you’ll need one of those too). There are no subscription fees here, so it’s a tempting option for all you cord cutters out there and with a 500GB capacity on the cheapest model, you’re looking at around 65 hours of storage, so there’s no need to pick up an external drive to save content, which is an issue with some DVRs. There’s a larger 1TB capacity version if you want to double down. Hook it up to a HD antenna and you’ll be able to watch and record content from the likes of ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, and The CW. Better yet, just ask Alexa to do it for you if you’ve got a modern Fire TV device with a voice-remote.

Amazon just unveiled the latest edition of its Fire TV Stick, and it’s a doozy. The new streaming media stick packs a wealth of features into a thumb-drive sized stick while retaining a low sticker price. For not much more than the older edition Fire TV Stick, you get 4K capability, HDR, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, a 1.7GHz quad-core processor, and Dolby Atmos Audio—something very few streaming sticks have. Plus, you also get Alexa, Amazon’s smart assistant, and its voice control capabilities.

Currently on available in the US. Released in June, Amazon’s new Fire TV Cube is a hybrid between a smart speaker and a streaming media player. Calling itself the “first hands-free streaming media player with Alexa”. Amazon seems to be betting on this combined functionality to sway consumers away from rival Chromecast or Apple TV devices.

Much as on an Amazon Echo speaker, customers are able to navigate Fire TV and play/pause/fast-forward content without the need for a remote, while still using Alexa for all their weather/shopping/trivia concerns.

The Cube comes with its own Ethernet port, 16GB of storage, and a built-in speaker, circumventing the need to use a TV’s audio output. Users are also be able to control other compatible smart home devices, including additional speakers, soundbars, thermostats, and security cameras.

The new Amazon Fire TV (2017) is a radical redesign of the Fire TV range, both inside and out. It’s been turned into a dongle but also given a huge power boost. Its 4K credentials have also improved with the addition of HDR and it’s always great to see Dolby Atmos getting some love. The new dongle is worth the upgrade for brand-new Amazon Fire TV buyers because it combines the best of the old hardware – it’s just as powerful as the full-size box, but it’s smaller in order to sneak behind your entertainment center without drawing attention.

Looking for the Amazon Fire TV experience without another black box on your shelf? Check out the Amazon Fire TV Stick. It offers all of the same content that you’d find on the full-size box, but in a mini, USB stick-esque form factor. You’ll love how quick and snappy the Fire TV Stick’s interface is, and that it’s intuitively laid out, making most content quick and easy to find. Once you get to your content it streams without any complaints or buffering while playback is smooth and good-looking. The voice search functionality is quick and accurate when searching for Amazon or Netflix content, and it’s also a speedy way of hopping between apps. Most major streaming services are also supported.

Thinking about expanding into smart home tech? Check out our guide to the Amazon Echo family of devices

What the Apple-Qualcomm battle means for your next iPhone – CNET

When it comes to Apple vs. Qualcomm, it’s a battle of the frenemies.

The two companies had a close relationship for at least half a decade, with Qualcomm supplying network connectivity chips for Apple’s iPhones.

When it comes to Apple vs. Qualcomm, it’s a battle of the frenemies.

The two companies had a close relationship for at least half a decade, with Qualcomm supplying network connectivity chips for Apple’s iPhones.

But they’re now battling in courts around the world over licensing and patents. The result could put your iPhone at risk.

Qualcomm is the world’s biggest provider of mobile chips, and it created technology that’s essential for connecting phones to cellular networks. The company derives a significant portion of its revenue from licensing those inventions to hundreds of device makers, with the fee based on the value of the phone, not the components. Because Qualcomm owns patents related to 3G, 4G and 5G phones — as well as other features like software — any handset makers building a device that connects to the networks has to pay it a licensing fee, even if they don’t use Qualcomm’s chips.

That includes Apple. The Cupertino, California, giant makes its own applications processor — the brains of the iPhone — but it relies on third-party chips for network connectivity. From the iPhone 4S in 2011 to the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus in 2015, the sole supplier for those chips was Qualcomm. The following year, Apple started using Intel modems in some models of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, but it still used Qualcomm in versions for Verizon and Sprint.

It continued that trend in 2017, but Apple’s latest phones — the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR, now only use Intel 4G chips. Apple blamed Qualcomm for that move, though Qualcomm said it would like to supply to Apple. Still, Apple’s move to 5G could be held up by not working with Qualcomm.

Apple thinks it should pay a royalty fee based only on the value of Qualcomm’s connectivity chips, not the entire device. It says Qualcomm is “effectively taxing Apple’s innovation” and that Apple “shouldn’t have to pay them for technology breakthroughs they have nothing to do with.”

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Qualcomm counters that its technology is much more than just connectivity. It’s also multimedia, imaging, GPS and countless other inventions that make a phone a phone. Qualcomm even filed for a patent in 2000, seven years before Apple introduced the iPhone, that is one of the first smartphone descriptions and that describes how to conserve power in a smartphone. Without its technology, Qualcomm says, the iPhone wouldn’t be possible.

The US Federal Trade Commission two years ago sided with Apple and filed an antitrust lawsuit against Qualcomm. It accused the company of operating a monopoly in wireless chips, forcing customers like Apple to work with it exclusively and charging excessive licensing fees for its technology. The two met in a San Jose, California, court in January to argue their case before a judge, and Apple provided some of the FTC’s key witnesses and evidence.

Now it’s time for Apple and Qualcomm to face off directly. The two will meet in court twice in the coming months — early March for a patent infringement trial and mid-April for the licensing dispute.

The outcome of those battles could have implications for the speed and features of upcoming iPhones. Here’s why:

What’s Qualcomm again?

You may not know the Qualcomm name (unless you live in its hometown of San Diego and frequent Qualcomm Stadium), but the odds are pretty high you’ve used a device with its technology. Qualcomm is best known for its chips that connect phones to cellular networks, as well as its Snapdragon processors that act as the brains of mobile devices.

We shouldn’t have to pay them for technology breakthroughs they have nothing to do with.

Qualcomm is one of the key component suppliers to Samsung and other phone makers (including Apple, until 2018). Without a modem in your device, you wouldn’t be able to hail a Lyft to take you home or check Facebook while you’re waiting in line at a food truck.

What technology does Qualcomm make?

Along with its processors, Qualcomm invents a lot of technology that’s used in mobile devices. The company says it’s invested more than $40 billion in research and development over the past three decades, and its patent portfolio contains more than 130,000 issued patents and patent applications worldwide.

The technology is centered on cellular communications and includes both standard essential patents and nonessential patents. (Standard essential patents are technologies that are vital to a device. They have to be licensed at fair and reasonable terms. Nonessential patents don’t have those requirements.)

Some Qualcomm patents relate to multimedia standards, mobile operating systems, user interfaces, displays, power management, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and even airplane mode. The company is also the pioneer of CDMA, the 3G mobile network standard used by Verizon and Sprint, and it’s innovated in 4G and 5G network connectivity.

“Qualcomm’s inventions are necessary for the entire cellular network to function — they are not limited to technologies in modem chipsets or even cell phones,” Qualcomm said in a filing.

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Why are Apple and Qualcomm fighting?

It all comes down to money. Apple claims Qualcomm charges too much in licensing fees for its mobile technology. Qualcomm says the iPhone (and other mobile devices) wouldn’t be possible without its technology. Neither can agree on what’s actually a fair licensing fee, so they’re taking their battle to court.

At the same time, Qualcomm accused Apple of infringing its patents for technology like power management.

What does Apple say in its complaints?

In part: “For many years, Qualcomm has unfairly insisted on charging royalties for technologies they have nothing to do with. The more Apple innovates with unique features such as TouchID, advanced displays, and cameras, to name just a few, the more money Qualcomm collects for no reason and the more expensive it becomes for Apple to fund these innovations.”

What does Qualcomm say?

In part: “Apple’s goal is clear — to leverage its immense power to force Qualcomm into accepting less than fair value for the patented technologies that have led innovation in cellular technology and helped Apple generate more than $760 billion in iPhone sales.”

How did the legal battle start?

There’s been a lot of legal back and forth, but here are the basics. Apple initially filed suit against Qualcomm in January 2017 in the US, saying the company didn’t offer fair licensing terms for its mobile technology. Qualcomm fired back in April of that year, denying all Apple’s allegations and accusing Apple of breach of contract and of interfering with agreements and relationships Qualcomm has with contract manufacturers.

Apple continues to use our technology and not pay for it. They’ve really left us no choice but to say, ‘You’ve got to stop this.’
Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm’s general counsel

Apple, through its manufacturers, stopped paying Qualcomm’s licensing fees for iPhones sold in the March quarter of 2017.

“Without an agreed-upon rate to determine how much is owed, we have suspended payments until the correct amount can be determined by the court,” Apple said at the time. “Qualcomm’s demands are unreasonable and they have been charging higher rates based on our innovation, not their own.”

That caused Qualcomm to pursue legal action to get paid. Qualcomm also filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission in July 2017, asking that some iPhones that used Intel chips be banned from import and sale in the US because Apple allegedly infringed six of Qualcomm’s patents. It also filed suit against Apple in the Southern District of California.

Technology companies in recent years have increasingly turned to the ITC to settle their disputes. Companies can pursue an ITC case in parallel with civil lawsuits, and the threat of an embargo on products typically forces companies to settle more quickly.

“Apple continues to use our technology and not pay for it,” Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm’s general counsel, said in an interview after filing its lawsuits. “They’ve really left us no choice but to say, ‘You’ve got to stop this.'”

What has happened since then?

After Qualcomm asked the ITC to ban some iPhones, the organization in September 2018 agreed that Apple infringed one Qualcomm patent related to power management, but didn’t infringe two other patents. And it said Apple phones shouldn’t be banned, even with the finding of infringement.

Qualcomm initially asserted 88 claims from six patents. The ITC’s decision upheld only one claim from one patent.

And in January, the US Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board said it would review three Qualcomm patents at issue in its ITC cases against Apple. Such a review can result in the patents being invalidated. One of the patents, No. 9,535,490, is the key patent asserted by Qualcomm in its lawsuit suit against Apple. It covers “power saving techniques in computing devices” that help reduce the electricity consumption by phones.

About 64 percent of the time following an IPR review, all patent claims are invalidated, according to a trial statistics report by the USPTO. And 17 percent of the time, some claims are invalidated.

Meeting in court

What is the March trial between Apple and Qualcomm about?

The first trial between Apple and Qualcomm is all about patents. Qualcomm in July 2017 accused Apple of infringing six non-standard-essential patents. One helps phones switch between high-definition and lower-quality graphics to save battery life. Another lets you do something like stream a video from your phone on Facebook in high definition without compromising the video quality or killing your battery life.

The patents asserted by Qualcomm include No. 8,633,936 (which covers graphics processing architecture that’s higher performing and more power efficient), No. 8,698,558 (which covers “envelope tracking technology” to make the RF signal transmitted by a device more power efficient), No. 8,487,658 (which covers “voltage shifter circuitry” to reduce power consumption), No. 8,838,949 (which relates to “flashless boot” for secondary processors in multiprocessor devices), No. 9,535,490 (which relates to reducing power consumption in electronics) and No. 9,608,675 (which “relates generally to techniques for generating a power supply voltage for a power amplifier that processes multiple transmit signals sent simultaneously, such as multiple transmissions sent simultaneously on multiple carriers at different frequencies”).

Only three of those six patents now remain in the case. And while Apple countersued Qualcomm for patent infringement, that case will be argued in a separate trial in July.

What are the trial logistics?

The trial starts March 4 and is scheduled to last eight days. Court won’t be in session on Fridays. It will be a jury trial overseen by Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego.

What about the April trial?

The April trial is the big one. This one relates to Apple’s initial complaint, in which it sued Qualcomm claiming unfair licensing terms. Apple also said Qualcomm sought to punish it for cooperating in a South Korean investigation into Qualcomm’s licensing practices by withholding a $1 billion rebate.

Apple wants a court to lower the amount it pays Qualcomm in licensing fees, as well as order the return of the $1 billion.

Qualcomm maintains that no modern handset — including the iPhone — would have been possible “without relying upon Qualcomm’s fundamental cellular technologies.” In its response to Apple’s filing, the company made some counterclaims of its own, including breach of contract and unfair competition. It also asked for an unspecified amount in damages and said Apple had interfered with its relationship with contract manufacturers.

In May 2017, Qualcomm filed a lawsuit against Apple’s iPhone manufacturers that alleged breach of contract. The suit came less than a month after Apple stopped paying patent royalties for Qualcomm technology that’s essential for connecting phones to a wireless network.

In July 2017, those four iPhone makers joined Apple by filing a suit against Qualcomm, alleging it used its market position to charge excessive royalties. The four companies are Foxconn parent Hon Hai Precision Industry, Wistron, Compal Electronics and Pegatron. They’re seeking at least $9 billion in damages, which could be tripled to $27 billion under antitrust law.

What are the logistics for that trial?

The trial starts April 15 and is scheduled to last 20 days. Court won’t be in session on Fridays. It will be a jury trial overseen by Judge Gonzalo Curiel in San Diego.

Patents and more patents

How does Qualcomm’s licensing business work?

Some companies license patents on an individual basis; Qualcomm licenses all its patents as a group. For a set fee — based on the selling price of the end device, typically a phone — the device maker gets to use all of Qualcomm’s technology.

It’s been the norm in the mobile industry for patent holders to base their licensing fees on the total value of a handset, so Qualcomm isn’t alone there. Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, Samsung and ZTE also charge licensing fees based on the total device. Any company that makes a device that connects to a mobile network has to pay Qualcomm a licensing fee, even if it doesn’t use Qualcomm chips.

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Part of the dispute between Apple and Qualcomm is that Apple believes its licensing fee should be based on the Qualcomm chip used in the device, not the entire phone.

“They do some really great work around standards-essential patents, but it’s one small part of what an iPhone is,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in May 2017. “It has nothing do with the display or the Touch ID or a gazillion other innovations that Apple has done. And so we don’t think that’s right, and so we’re taking a principled stand on it.”

Who licenses Qualcomm’s technology?

Qualcomm licenses its technology to more than 340 companies, particularly phone vendors. It doesn’t license its patents to chipmakers, though, which is something governments and Apple have taken issue with. Qualcomm argues that chipmakers don’t need licenses because the handset makers already cover the cost of using its technology.

In the case of Apple, it licenses Qualcomm’s technology through its manufacturers, like Foxconn, instead of having a license of its own. Apple said during the January trial that it’s been trying for five years to negotiate a direct license with Qualcomm but that the terms offered — like cross-licensing Apple’s technology — weren’t fair. Apple’s manufacturing partners are also involved in the legal disputes.

In April 2017, Apple said it stopped paying Qualcomm royalties for devices sold during the March quarter. Qualcomm accused the manufacturers of breach of contract and asked a court to make them pay up until the legal battles are resolved. Qualcomm says the licensing fees Apple and its manufacturers are withholding amount to billions of dollars. Apple says it has been overpaying for Qualcomm’s patents and has stopped payments until the legal dispute is resolved.

Qualcomm in October said that Apple owes it $7 billion in patent licensing fees.

So what’s Qualcomm’s licensing fee?

Qualcomm’s licensing fees are based on the total value of a device ($999 in the case of the iPhone XS) versus the value of a chip (closer to $20), but they’re also capped at a certain level. The FTC-Qualcomm battle revealed specific details about Qualcomm’s licensing fees, including the rate Apple paid.

Apple partners paid Qualcomm a licensing fee five times higher than it thought was fair, Apple operating chief Jeff Williams testified during the FTC trial. Apple wanted to pay $1.50 per device in royalties to Qualcomm, based on a 5 percent fee for the cost of each $30 modem connecting iPhones to mobile networks. Instead, it ended up paying $7.50 per phone, he said.

“The whole idea of a percentage of the cost of the phone didn’t make sense to us,” Williams said. “It struck at our very core of fairness. At the time we were making something really, really different.”

Still, Apple agreed to the rate since it was lower than what Qualcomm wanted to charge the contract manufacturers — a 5 percent fee for every iPhone sold, which would equate to about $12 to $20 per device, Williams said. A rebate agreement dropped that to $7.50 per iPhone, and the level stayed steady over the years.

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In November 2017, Chinese handset makers started paying Qualcomm royalties for its 3G and 4G patents at 3.25 percent of the selling price of every phone sold in that country. Qualcomm later rolled that rate out across its licensing base. It also capped the value of handsets, which its royalty is based on, at $400, even if a device sold for triple that. And Qualcomm’s cap for a full portfolio license is $20 per device and $13 for only Qualcomm’s essential patents.

By comparison, in one of its patent battles with Samsung, Apple argued it deserved $40 per device for Samsung’s infringement of five patents, as well as lost profits, for a total of $2.19 billion. A jury ultimately ordered Samsung to pay $119.6 million for infringing three of Apple’s five patents that related to software features like “quick links” and “slide to unlock.”

Does Intel factor into this?

When Apple first launched the iPhone a decade ago, it used modems from Germany’s Infineon. That went on for the next three years until Apple switched to Qualcomm in 2011.

Intel bought Infineon in 2011, but its chips didn’t appear in the iPhone again until 2016’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. At that time, US models running on networks from AT&T and T-Mobile started using Intel processors, while Verizon and Sprint versions used Qualcomm. Intel is now the sole supplier of iPhone modems.

Qualcomm has accused Apple of giving trade secrets to Intel. In September, it said in a lawsuit that Apple gave Intel engineers confidential information, including Qualcomm source code and log files, to overcome flaws in their company’s chips used in iPhones. Qualcomm said in a complaint that Apple uses this “second source of chipsets” to pressure it in business negotiations.

The new complaint from Qualcomm is an amendment to the November 2017 suit filed against Apple. Qualcomm said newly uncovered facts have given rise to additional charges against the iPhone maker, including trade secret appropriation and breach of agreement.

Other legal battles

What’s going on between Apple and Qualcomm outside the US?

Apple has filed lawsuits against Qualcomm in China and the UK, while Qualcomm has responded with countersuits in China and Germany.

In early December 2018, a Chinese court ordered four of Apple’s Chinese subsidiaries to stop importing or selling iPhones because of patent infringement. The patents involve technology that lets iPhone users adjust and reformat the size and appearance of photographs, and manage applications using a touchscreen when viewing, navigating and dismissing applications.

Later that same month, a court in Munich found that Apple infringed Qualcomm’s technology for power savings in smartphones and ruled that the iPhone maker must halt sales of the device in Germany. Apple in February resumed selling its iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 in Germany again, but it only offered models with Qualcomm chips. Apple stopped using chips from Intel in the older devices in order to comply with the German court decision.

In January, a different German court, in Mannheim, dismissed Qualcomm’s latest claims against Apple, calling them unfounded. The second German case is related to something called “bulk tension,” or voltage, in iPhones. The ruling from a regional court said Apple didn’t infringe Qualcomm’s patents because voltage in smartphones isn’t constant. It dismissed the claim, but Qualcomm is appealing.

What other legal issues are facing Qualcomm?

Qualcomm has come under a lot of scrutiny in recent years for alleged monopolistic practices. In early 2015, it paid China nearly $1 billion to end a 14-month antitrust investigation in that country. Then, in December 2016, South Korea hit Qualcomm with a $850 million fine following a three-year investigation. The South Korean Fair Trade Commission accused the chipset maker of having an “unfair business model” and creating a monopoly with its practices.

The European Union in January 2018 fined Qualcomm 997.4 million euros ($1.23 billion) for paying Apple to use only its chips. The European regulators have accused the chip giant of violating antitrust laws by making payments to ensure exclusivity.

The US has also accused Qualcomm of operating a monopoly, and that went to court in January 2019.

What was Qualcomm’s battle with the FTC about?

The FTC sued Qualcomm in 2017, and the case went to trial in San Jose two years later. The US government has accused Qualcomm of operating a monopoly in wireless chips, forcing customers like Apple to work with Qualcomm exclusively and charging “excessive” licensing fees for its technology, in part by wielding its “no license, no chips” policy. Qualcomm’s practices prevented rivals from entering the market, drove up the cost of phones and in turn hurt consumers, who faced higher handset prices, the FTC said.

The FTC argued that Qualcomm used its power in the 3G and 4G chip market to force handset makers into the unfair licensing deals. If Qualcomm isn’t stopped, the FTC said, it’ll do the same thing in the 5G market.

Qualcomm said the FTC’s lawsuit is based on “flawed legal theory.” It’s also said customers choose its chips because they’re the best and that it’s never stopped providing processors to customers, even when they’re battling over licenses.

It also said its royalty practices didn’t hurt competitors. Intel now supplies all modems for Apple’s iPhones, MediaTek is the world’s second biggest wireless chipmaker, and Samsung and Huawei have developed their own modems.

Executives from tech’s biggest companies testified about Qualcomm’s licensing practices during January’s trial, revealing the inner workings of the smartphone industry. The FTC and Qualcomm presented their closing arguments Jan. 29, and it’s now up to Judge Lucy Koh to decide the verdict. At the same time, the two sides continue to negotiate a possible settlement.

How did Apple factor into that case?

The FTC complaint specifically related to how Qualcomm dealt with Apple. The US government said that Qualcomm forced Apple to pay licensing fees for its technology in exchange for using its chips in iPhones. It also argued that Qualcomm used its position to demand unreasonably high licensing fees and hurt competition by refusing to license its technology to chip rivals.

“Qualcomm recognized that any competitor that won Apple’s business would become stronger, and used exclusivity to prevent Apple from working with and improving the effectiveness of Qualcomm’s competitors,” the FTC said in a statement at the time it filed its lawsuit.

During the trial, the FTC called Apple Operating Chief Jeff Williams and VP of Procurement Tony Blevins to the stand. Williams testified that that Qualcomm refused to sell modems to Apple for 2018 iPhones because of the companies’ licensing dispute. And Blevins said Apple wanted to build an Intel communication chip into its iPad Mini 2, released in fall 2013, but Qualcomm’s hardball business methods crushed the plan.

Matthias Sauer, an Apple executive and a witness called by Qualcomm, testified that Intel’s modems didn’t meet the technical standards required for the company’s iPhones in 2014. Though Intel also couldn’t meet Apple’s chip requirements for the iPad, it would’ve used them anyway, he said, had Qualcomm not offered incentives to stay with its chips.

The next iPhone

What does this mean for my next iPhone?

Most people don’t really care about what chips are inside their devices, but Qualcomm has a big advantage over Intel: speed.

In mid-February, Qualcomm unveiled the X55 processor, the first modem capable of running on everything from 2G to 5G networks. It’s capable of 7.5 Gbps download speeds and will be in devices in late 2019. Qualcomm’s previous modem, the X50, will be in devices released over the coming months.

Most carriers are just starting to turn on their 5G networks, and smartphone companies are still prepping their first 5G devices. Many major Android vendors — including Samsung, Huawei and LG — unveiled 5G phones at or just ahead of MWC 2019 in February. The initial 5G phones will use the X50 modem, which can deliver download speeds up of 5 Gbps.

By the 2019 holiday season, every major Android vendor in the US will have a 5G phone available using Qualcomm chips.

Intel doesn’t yet have a 5G chip on the market, but it said its 5G modem will be ready for commercial devices in the second half of 2019, with broader deployment in 2020

What about a 5G iPhone?

5G is expected to be 100 times faster than our current 4G LTE wireless technology and 10 times speedier than what Google Fiber offers through a physical connection to the home. Experts say it should enable uses like virtual reality and augmented reality, as well as things we can’t even think of today.

But Apple may be behind with the technology. The company wanted to use Qualcomm’s4G LTE processors in its 2018 iPhones, but the chipmaker wouldn’t sell to it, Apple’s Williams testified in the FTC trial.

Qualcomm continues to provide Apple with chips for its older iPhones, including the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, he said. But it wouldn’t provide Apple with processors for the newest iPhones for 2018, designed since the two began fighting over patents, he said.

“The strategy was to dual-source in 2018 as well,” Williams in January. “We were working toward doing that with Qualcomm, but in the end they would not support us or sell us chips.”

Williams’ comments appeared to contradict testimony from Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf from earlier in the FTC trial. He said on the stand that as of spring 2018, Qualcomm still was trying to win a contract supplying chips for iPhones but that it hadn’t “had any new business” from Apple since its previous contracts expired. Because of the trial’s evidence date limitations, he wasn’t allowed to discuss the current state of Qualcomm’s business with Apple.

Other Qualcomm executives have made comments in recent months about their willingness to supply processors to Apple.

During an earnings call in July, Cristiano Amon, the head of Qualcomm’s chip business, said that “if the opportunity present itself, I think we will be a supplier of Apple.” And in September, financial chief George Davis said during a Citi conference, “we would welcome the engagement with Apple on 5G.”

If Apple gets a lower licensing fee, would we pay less for iPhones?

That’s likely a big fat no. Apple has more leverage over pricing when it has two suppliers to play off each other. It’s highly unlikely that it will pass along any of those savings to all of us.

When Apple launched its iPhone X in late 2017, some wondered if the $999 price tag would scare away consumers. Instead, the iPhone X became the best-selling device from the time it hit stores through the end of the June quarter, even though it was the most expensive phone Apple had ever sold.

The 5.8-inch device was $300 more than the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 and $200 more than the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus. Apple followed up this year with the iPhone XS and the bigger and even pricier XS Max, which starts at $1,099.

Apple, facing a slowdown in iPhone sales, needs to generate more money from each device it sells. The company in early January issued a rare warning — its first in 16 years — that it would fall short of its financial projections in the December quarter. Tuesday, it said its sales in the March quarter also would be lower than analysts expected. It pointed to an economic slowdown in China and the country’s “rising trade tensions with the United States” as the main culprits.

Even if Apple pays less for patents, that doesn’t mean we’ll see any benefit from those savings. Its higher prices are likely here to stay.

First published July 9, 2017.
Update, March 1, 2019, at 5:30 a.m. PT: Adds details of recent developments, including the FTC-Qualcomm trial, and notes the impending trial dates in March and April.

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Data Privacy is having its day

You’d be forgiven for asking, how relevant now is Data Privacy Day? The online universe definitely looked a lot scarier in 2007 – when Data Privacy Day first launched – than it does today.

You’d be forgiven for asking, how relevant now is Data Privacy Day? The online universe definitely looked a lot scarier in 2007 – when Data Privacy Day first launched – than it does today.

Our digital lives are more real, more active, and consumers and businesses both understand the need to protect themselves and their customers, now that data is worth its weight in gold. Whether it’s our everyday data for online banking or ecommerce, or business-level security around regulations or ethical AI, we’re probably safer than we’ve ever been.

So if we’re more privacy-aware than ever, why can cybercrime still seem more of a worry than being pickpocketed in the street? Because the digital-real life blur is only increasing and we’re embracing it, expecting services and speed that deliver only the best experiences. Even lifestyle products are getting in on the act, embedding RFID blockers in anything from wallets to travel luggage to help us manage our privacy.

Data Protection Day 2019: Privacy firmly in the limelightThe war for encrypted dataAmericans reluctant to pay for privacy

Image Credit: Pixabay

Data security education

While we navigate this slightly uncomfortable but welcome world of better experiences, we do need to keep educating around data security. At best, it’s wrong to assume that we’re all technically equals – as anyone who has tried to teach a parent how to spot a data-scam will know. At worst, the frequency with which we see the words ‘cybersecurity’ and ‘attack’ together have given us a preview of the damage that cyber-insecurity might do.

So for what it’s worth, let’s tally up the tips:

Avoid using public and open Wi-Fi networks, or use a VPN if you really need to use an open Wi-Fi network.Install software updates on your devices, and make sure they’re from the proper sources.Don’t use the ‘Remember me’ functionality for online banking. Use a password manager instead to store your secure passwords.Choose a bank’s native mobile app before mobile web, but never “sideload” a banking app. Always access from the proper sources.Use security questions to protect your account, if available. However, don’t use questions where someone could easily guess the answer by looking at your social media. Pet’s names are out. Use two/multi factor authentication, if available. In addition, put pressure on your service provider to establish it if it’s not available.Set up banking alerts for possible breach attempts, and make sure you monitor these alerts!Only use trusted sites for your online shopping, and only provide personal information or credentials over secure links (check if the site address begins with https://)

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Making every day Data Privacy Day

As these calendar moments do, raising awareness is important. But what can we do to make Data Privacy Day even more useful? After GDPR, companies are obliged to show what data they have and what they do with it, and risk hefty fines if for anything less than transparency. . If we quite reasonably assume that no one is going to look after our money as well as we do ourselves, then are the financial services that go beyond regulation, and build a name in data-trust the ones who will win our digital hearts and minds?

Trustly (employer disclaimer!) take it super seriously, as you would expect for a company who has put the biggest clue in its name. Blending computer science with the cultural, Trustly is a payment services provider who assume that it is possible to have the same trust in our online payment transactions as we have in our banks. How? By using your own bank details to make payments online.

There are several providers of this payment method around Europe and growing interest because of its convenience, speed and simplicity while having the same security level afforded by banks. Customers are always aware of how Trustly is processing their data, and transactions are registered with the consumer’s bank using the same encryption that the banks themselves use. In addition, Trustly only collect the data needed for the kind of big picture concerns that businesses really should handling on our behalf – such as anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism legislation and monitoring payment flows. So paying with you bank details actually helps your bank to tell that one payer is not another. With 2.5 million payments on a monthly basis and never a single case of compromised user data… being CISO at a company named after perhaps our most important online emotion is certainly an interesting spot to be.

In conclusion, Data Privacy Day is more relevant than ever. Second only to Earth Day, it will probably progress the most year-on-year. How we learn about the value of our data, and who we trust to understand it as well as we do, will need to evolve fast. There’s a very human need to stay close to the things that belong to us – our money and our data. As digital finance gets bigger and better, maybe we’ll have an emoji for trust come next January.

Dimitrios Stergiou, Chief Information Security Officer at Trustly

Protect your online privacy with the best VPN

The weirdest tech we saw at MWC 2019

At MWC 2019 we got our hands on a whole host of exciting new products, from the Huawei Mate X foldable phone to BMW’s new virtual driver and many more.


At MWC 2019 we got our hands on a whole host of exciting new products, from the Huawei Mate X foldable phone to BMW’s new virtual driver and many more.

But… then there were the products that you wouldn’t see shown off at a massive press launch. Those that were still weird, wacky, and wonderful in their own way, so we decided to bring you a list of some of the more off-beat products and tech that we saw at Barcelona’s big phone conference.

Check out all the announcements from MWC 2019This is what we know about the Samsung Galaxy FoldThese was the weirdest tech from CES 2019Lexon Oblio: a jar that’ll charge and clean your phone

Image credit: TechRadar

Wireless charging seems to be slowly growing in popularity, but this offering from Lexon takes losing the wires to the next level.

The Oblio is a jar, and your first instinct might be to put jam or flowers in it, not your phone…but it’s a 10W charger that you can drop your handset right into to fill it with power.

If that wasn’t novel enough, the Oblio also uses UV light to clean bacteria and germs off your phone when it’s charging.

Lexon claims that in 30 minutes of charging 99.9% of bacteria and germs will be gone from your device – a nice touch if you’re someone who frequently uses the phone on the toilet… which seems to be essentially everyone these days.

Xiaomi Robot Builder: build-your-own robot warrior

Image credit: TechRadar

Ever wanted to start your own robot fight club? If so, then Xiaomi has the toy for you, with a robot you build yourself, and control with your phone.

There are several different variations you can buy, retailing at costs around $95 / £70 / AU£135 and with around 1,000 parts each, that you can build like a Lego kit. Then by using an app on your phone, you can define its movements like a remote control toy… but with your own handset.

When we gave our robot friend for a spin we found it intuitive and easy to use, although we were only allowed to patrol it around a small enclosure with no other robot combatants to test it against, so our dreams of one day starting a small bot army might have to wait a little longer.

Oral-B Genius X: artificial intelligence for your toothbrush

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If you were constantly nagged as a kid to brush your teeth in the right way the, Oral-B Genius X might give you flashbacks.

The mouth-focused brand has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm that analyzes how you brush your teeth and gives you feedback on how to improve – it’s like a nagging parent, but they have no body and you’re paying for the privilege.

When you brush your teeth with the Genius X it monitors many factors, such as the time of brush and how hard you press on your teeth, and provides feedback for future brushes – connecting to an app to do so.

Interestingly it doesn’t proactively tell you how to brush your teeth as you do so, only providing retrospective advice and tips so you can find your own way of brushing. It can tell you if you need to brush for longer or less time, press softer when you brush, or if there’s anywhere you often miss when you brush.

The aim of this is to help you brush your teeth in a less damaging way, while still getting a good clean. It’ll retail for around €200 (roughly $230, £170, AU$320) when it comes out in September.

MyKi Pet: a wearable for your dog (or cat)

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If you love your fitness band but have always wanted your canine companion or feline friend to have one too, MyKi has you covered with its GPS pet collar.

The collar lets you use GPS, Wi-Fi and cell reception to track your pet in enclosed or outdoor locations, as well as use geo-fencing to tell when they’ve left a certain area or issue it basic commands. You do need a SIM card to get it to work, but many carriers will bundle the device with one.

This gets interesting as it can tell you where they’ve been on Google Maps – which has a history feature to track past movements. You can therefore work out how far your pet has travelled each day, and reward them if you’re pleased with their progress… or take them for runs if you’re not.

It’s also a lot smaller and subtler than other pet trackers so doesn’t look ugly on your companion, and as it uses its own SIM card it can send updates to your phone even when your pet is far away, unlike competing devices.

Sadly there were no cats or dogs available at MWC to model the MyKi Pet for us, but it still seems like a great device if you’ve got a fat cat or pudgy puppy you want to get in to shape (or just locate when they get lost).

We saw some pretty fantastic tech at MWC 2019 – check out our top picks

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world’s largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2019 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar’s world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.

Tesla Model 3 price drop makes entry-level car more affordable

The Tesla Model 3 price has been reduced to $35,0000 (around £26,400, AU$49,300) with the introduction of a new version of the vehicle, as the firm closes physical stores and moves to online-only orders.

The Tesla Model 3 price has been reduced to $35,0000 (around £26,400, AU$49,300) with the introduction of a new version of the vehicle, as the firm closes physical stores and moves to online-only orders. Previously, the cheapest Model 3 was $42,900 (around £32,300, AU$60,400).

It means you’ll no longer be able to walk into a Tesla showroom and order an all-electric Model S, X or 3, which also means no ability to test drive the vehicles.

However, you’ll now be able to return your new Tesla within seven days (or 1000 miles, whichever comes first) for a full refund if you’re not happy with it.

As Tesla says in its official news announcement, “Quite literally, you could buy a Tesla, drive several hundred miles for a weekend road trip with friends and then return it for free.”

What is an EV (electric vehicle)?Wireless electric vehicle charging explainedWhat you get

The new $35,000 price tag will get you the standard Model 3, which boasts a 220 mile range on a single charge, top speed of 130mph and a 0-60mph time of 5.6 seconds.

For $37,000 (around £28,000, AU$52,000) you can get the Range Plus model, which offers 240 miles per charge, top speed of 140 mph and a 0-60mph time of 5.3 seconds.

In terms of in-car tech, the Tesla Model comes with a 15-inch center touchscreen display that provides you with controls for climate, seats and more, as well as all your infotainment. There’s also Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular connectivity, voice activated controls and two USB ports for charging your devices.

The Tesla Model 3 is currently available for order in North America, with the vehicle arriving in more regions soon, including the UK in the second half of 2019.

The Tesla Model 3 can park all by itself

Smarty Mobile is now giving you one month free with its cheap SIM only deals

We have to admit that Smarty Mobile just keeps on finding new ways to impress us. Every time it adds a new feature or reveals a special offer, it piques our interest – a feat not always easy in a world already jam-packed with impressive SIM only deals.

We have to admit that Smarty Mobile just keeps on finding new ways to impress us. Every time it adds a new feature or reveals a special offer, it piques our interest – a feat not always easy in a world already jam-packed with impressive SIM only deals.

First came its pledge to give credit for unused data (more on which at the bottom of this page), and then it started dishing out commitment-free unlimited data SIMs for a very reasonable £25 per month. So far, so eye-catching.

Its latest promotion gives you something for absolutely nothing. Sign up for one month of a Smarty SIMO, and it will give you the second month absolutely free. It’s a brilliant offer, and one that’s especially perfect if you’re somebody that’s looking for a stopgap SIM for just a couple of months.

The offer, which is available until April 3, comes with all five of Smarty’s SIM only plans. So that includes its so-called ‘X Small’ plan that ordinarily gets you 1GB of data for £6.25 per month. If you decide only to hang around for 60 days, that’s the equivalent of £3.12 a month! And the value gets even better as the data increases – so you could go for its £25 unlimited data SIM, now costing an average of only £12.50 for each of the first two months.

Smarty’s SIM only deals in full:1GB data, unlimited calls and texts – £6.25 per month2GB data, unlimited calls and texts – £7.50 per month4GB data, unlimited calls and texts – £10 per month8GB data, unlimited calls and texts – £15 per monthUnlimited data, calls and texts – £25 per month

Or check out all of today’s best SIM only deals in the UK

Credit back for unused data

On the merits of the above promotion alone, Smarty is looking like a clever SIMO option at the moment for new and old SIM-free mobiles alike. But its other USP is really worth reminding you about, too.

It will give you money off for any data allowance that you don’t use in a month. So if you have a month where you hardly use your phone away from the Wi-Fi at all, you may be eligible for money off your next phone bill.

The tariffs include a base price of £5 per month which is non-refundable. So whichever plan you go for (other than the basic 1GB or unlimited data options, of course) if you use no data you’ll only pay £5 per month and you’ll still get unlimited calls and texts to play with.

Worried about reception? Again there’s nothing to be afraid of – Smarty piggybacks on the Three network which covers 97% of the UK.

Check out this deal at is Smarty? Find out more